Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Four Magical Evenings at the Pont du Gard



The 2,000-year-old aqueduct called the Pont du Gard is one of the most magnificent sites in Provence; I never get tired of tromping around on it, photographing it and splashing around in the water beneath it.  And my favorite Roman relic is even more spectacular when she’s all lit up with video, light, flame and fireworks as she is each summer during a popular evening sound-and-light show series called “Les Féeries du Pont’’ (Fairies of the Bridge). This year's show is called Mondes Magiques.

Mondes Magiques will be presented four times in June, on Friday and Saturday evenings: June 5, 6, 12 and 13. Showtime is 10:30 p.m or at dusk. But definitely arrive early as there are "animations" before the main event, starting around 8 p.m. 

Designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pont du Gard's listing as a World Heritage Site, Mondes Magiques takes inspiration from the world's legends and folklore...and sites such as Angkor Wat, Borobudur, Prambanan, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Eiffel Tower. "The show is sort of a birthday party where the aqueduct welcomes into its home it's old friends--all listed monuments--into its home," the organizers tell me.


Once again, the producer is Groupe F, the internationally acclaimed pyrotechnicians known for shows at the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and the Olympics. If you want a smile, have a look at their website; their work is over-the-top wonderful. 

The Pont du Gard site will be open all day, as usual, but separate tickets are required for the show. Seating is on the right bank of the river so if you arrive on the left bank, you must be in by 9:30 pm in order to cross the bridge; the gates to the Pont du Gard park will close at 9:30. Bring cushions, chairs and blankets or you'll be sitting on the ground; the shops on site also sell seats if you forget. My best advice is sit as close to the bridge itself as possible.  ''And don't forget to bring also warm wears,'' my contact at the Pont du Gard sweetly tells me. 

Tickets for Mondes Magiques range from €15 to €25; kids under six are free. You can buy tickets at the Pont du Gard on the night of each show, as long as there are still places available. You can buy them online here (if you have a French credit or bank card) or at the Pont du Gard box office at any time. They're also available at FNAC, Carrefour, Géant, Magasins U, FranceBillet.com and Ticketnet.com. Group rates are available (for group rates call 04 66 37 51 10). If you have an annual pass to the Pont du Gard, you get a discount. Parking is free. 

So what about dinner? Casual food will be sold on site or you can bring a picnic in with you. There's also a restaurant called Les Terrasses that serves excellent Mediterranean cuisine (04 66 63 91 37). A special Féeries du Pont menu will be offered at Les Terrasses but the restaurant fills up very quickly so reserve early

If you can't go to the show but plan to visit the Pont du Gard another time, in summer (until September 13 this year), the site stays open until Midnight, illuminated beautifully. The museum and shops close at 7 or 8 pm. 

The Pont du Gard is located between Remoulins (RN 100) and Vers-Pont du Gard (D 81).  Its 40 km from St. Remy, 27 km from Nimes,  21 km from Avignon and 19 km from Uzes.  

For all the info on the show or on visiting at other times, click here. For historical info, click here. To contact the Pont du Gard directly: contact@pontdugard.fr or 04 66 37 50 99....and yes, they speak English. 

If you want to catch a Groupe F fireworks show at another time, go to their site here and check their 2015 schedule. In addition to their four nights at the Pont du Gard, they’ll be in Provence doing the Bastille Day fireworks in Salin de Giraud (in the Camargue) on July 13 and in Arles on July 14.

Finally, if you plan to be in Paris this summer,  you can get a taste of Groupe F  on Bastille Day, as they once again have been asked to create the fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower on July 14. You can also experience them at the Chateau de Versailles, where they're once again staging their musical fountain display called ''Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes.'' It's on every Saturday from June 20 to September 19, 2015...with the exception of July 4. And they'll be staging a new creation, "The Fire King," on July 1, 2, 8, 9 and 10. All the info is on the Versailles website here. 

Photos: This year's poster, stills from last year, video from last year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julie, The video is fantastic. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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